25 Years of Printmaking: How it all began

Probably this way:

At the end of the 1970s I bought a camera, a Nikon FM. A tough tool, for proper work. No automatic functions. It‘ll accompany me for more than 30 years: on Scottisch peat bogs, on Swedish glaciers, in the primeval forests of Poland, while touring England – the camera would be my robust sketch book always, wherever.

After university I started working as a designer in public relations. I was to produce concept and text for printed matter like brochures, flyers and posters. At school I had been in charge of designing posters for events. If there were just a few, I‘d draw and paint the letters and images, if it was a small edition I‘d use the screenprint press at the arts department.

Now I was a freelancer designer and copywriter working on commissions. With a degree in Biology (Dipl.-Biol.) plus having spent time reading Communication Sciences and Philosophy of Science, I had all the tools at hand for researching and writing about all sorts of themes. Quickly word spread that I was the one for the „tricky stuff“ be it technical or natural sciences, for example texts for an exhibition on battery types for the regional power supplier, brochures on new technology in the engineering industry, editing a book on the reallocation of agricultural land to be published by the relevant department in charge.

Towards the end of the 1990s the printing industry went into crisis mode. Businesses would gradually swap printed brochures for a website on the internet. Commissions got fewer, I needed to find something in addition to work on, preferably without again depending on commissions.

Meanwhile on the opposite side of the Atlantic ocean US-journalists choose Johannes Gutenberg to be the „Man of the Millenium“. They saw him as the most influencial person in the second millennium.

The possibility of going ahead with print projects independent of clients‘ wishes, had felt tempting for quite some time.

My favourites in art were cubism and printmaking techniques, primarily wood cut. If my brain refused to work during preparation for exams or while researching or writing, I‘d clear my desk, get my knives and lino plus the old rolling pin. I‘d make small size prints: book plates for friends.

So far there never had been enough space for a proper printing press. But with a bit of reshuffling this might become a possibility.

Having my own printing press would allow me to print bigger sizes, I might even venture into making books. The idea of a printing studio started taking shape. There was an offer of a professional course in bookbinding not far from where I lived – I enrolled.

It is November 1998 and Peter Vöge unloades one KORREX Hannover Hand proofpress at my place in Ebersbach/Fils just east of Stuttgart in southwest Germany. A few doors need to be taken off their hinges, but we manage to get the half tonne heavy weight to its designated spot.

The 42-year old press came with one case 10pt Optima and 24pt Hammer-Uncial metal type respectively.

The first project is a New Year’s print sporting my first woodcut and text, hand set from Optima and Uncial and printed on handmade Asian deckle edge paper.

To be continued on 18 March 2024


  1. Hello Annette,
    Just read the first entry. It reads very well indeed and with the images, the whole entry looks fabulous. Congrats. Looking forward to next installment. M

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